Who’s your favourite New Zealand author?

March has rolled around again and so has New Zealand Book Month. Time to think about favourite New Zealand authors, books and characters.  An idle few minutes brought these authors to mind.

Fiona Farrell. How lucky are we that this woman is living and writing in our general neighbourhood?

Janet Frame. Yes she can be hard to read, especially if you’ve been lulled into a false sense of security by the autobiography, but who can resist her words? She said herself  “a word which is exciting to look at and say and doesn’t slop its meaning over the side is good’, and she knew lots of them.

"The trouble with fire" book coverFiona Kidman. She’s written over 30 books and is always so good it’s almost easy to take her a bit for granted. Which is not a trap whoever is responsible for the cover of her latest book of short stories, The trouble with fire, has fallen into. It’s as beautiful as her work.

Margaret Mahy. Truly a national treasure. It seems like yesterday that we celebrated her 70th birthday in Our City O-Tautahi, but it was 2006.  This woman has won the Carnegie Medal (twice) and the Hans Christian Anderson Award. All New Zealanders can bask in her reflected glory.

Ronald Hugh Morrieson. ‘”The same week our fowls were stolen, Daphne Moran had her throat cut.” Surely one of the top ten best opening lines in literature. Plus they pulled down his house and put a McDonald’s on the site.  “Who wants to remember that old drunk?” said one of his fellow Haweraeans to attempts to save the house. I like to think R.H.M. would have liked that.

C. K. Stead. Dauntingly distinguished and more than a little bit scary in person at literary festivals (I’ve longed to ask questions but never quite dared), C.K. Stead writes books that are clever, subtle and surprisingly funny.

Paul Thomas.  The first New Zealand crime writer I read and I think he is still one of the best. His ear for how we speak is unsurpassed. And he’s written a new book and he is coming to Christchurch during New Zealand Book Month.

Who is the first author that pops into your mind when you think of New Zealand books?

8 thoughts on “Who’s your favourite New Zealand author?

  1. Laraine 1 March 2012 / 1:04 pm

    I’d like to add Sherryl Jordan to the list.

  2. Marion 1 March 2012 / 3:37 pm

    You certainly named the big four word women – I think they are all great. I’ve always been a fan of Morris Gee myself and I can’t forget some epic non-fiction writers – James Belich and Anne Salmond.
    Just a plug for the Janet Frame House in Oamaru – its a lovely way to get up close to her words – they have some great examples framed on the walls.

  3. Pat Rosier 1 March 2012 / 3:43 pm

    My favourite New Zealand author remains Janet Frame. From Owls Do Cry onwards I have revelled in every published word, even when I didn’t entirely understand the story.

  4. purplerulz 1 March 2012 / 5:55 pm

    I’m a lover of Janet Frame too, and I also Elizabeth Knox’ s Dreamhunter and Vitner’s Luck. Maurice Gee, LLoyd Jones, and I loved Keri Hulme’s The Bone People. Witi Ihimaera, the poetry of Hone Tuwhare, and owen Marshall at times

  5. bronnypop 2 March 2012 / 1:52 pm

    Sarah-Kate Lynch. She makes me feel happy. And then sad. And then happy again.

  6. Rachael 2 March 2012 / 3:19 pm

    Ooooh, I loved Elizabeth Knox’s Dreamhunter duet too! Excellent fantasy and very cleverly tied together.

  7. Marion 5 March 2012 / 11:17 am

    Follow up on Maurice Gee – I watched The Good Book Junior where the bright eyed panellists reviewed The halfmen of O. One said in amazement – I didn’t realise he was so old – it seems modern.
    Ah youth – making the discovery that good writing is good writing whenever it was writ.

  8. Claire 'Word by Word' 7 March 2012 / 10:37 am

    James George’s ‘Hummingbird’ is an outstanding work for me, I heard him reading aloud at a festival here in Aix en Provence a few years ago with Vincent Sullivan and Elizabeth Knox and knew I had to have that book. Such poetic, lyrical language, a great story and memorable characters.

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